The purpose of our article series ‘Product | People | Potential’ is to feature and showcase the very best UK start-ups with great potential: truly inspiring businesses that are shaking up their sector. We capture and share the stories behind the name. We collate authentic peer to peer real-talk, while celebrating the growth and success thus far and gather a glimpse of what’s ahead.
Adrian: Hi, I’m Adrian Co-founder and COO of Lumio, a seed-stage start-up focused on intelligently optimising people’s money.
Our live iOS app (Android coming soon – sign up for priority access here), optimises the growing pile of £148bn of Lazy Money sat in UK accounts, by curating the perfect financial stack and automatically growing your money. What makes us unique is that Lumio is currently the only app that fully optimises your financial life by continually connecting your accounts to see your entire financial life in seconds; analysing your financial life to identify where your money needs to be optimised; growing your money optimally the right way, with the perfect financial products, through our 100% independent marketplace.
It’s this independence and breadth of coverage that makes Lumio stand out from every other service that offers limited account connections or proprietary / tied partnerships – they can never fully optimise people’s money in their absolute best interests.
Adrian: Lumio has been an evolution. Brothers Tom and Charlie Richardson had been advising wealthy individuals on their investments. They were constantly asked by their Millennial friends for advice on what to do with their money. There was no service that really catered for them.
After a lot of desk research, it became clear there was an abundance of budgeting tools, innovative digital banks and investment products. But there was no independent first port of call to help find the right products and services for people. With a rapidly growing market, financial decision making was becoming more difficult and complex.
The research showed existing providers were completely neglecting young people who wanted to optimise and grow their money, rather than just budget.
There was no initial plan to build a product. Just a curiosity to break up the working week that ultimately led down a rabbit hole, a landscape/ competitor analysis, building the prototype, finding out people were willing to pay for our value proposition: Connecting the broadest range of accounts in seconds, analysing your ‘lazy money’ and growing your money optimally with the right products at the right time from our independent marketplace, always in your absolute best interests.
Now here we are as a strong team that constantly challenges each other to learn, grow and build Lumio to accelerate financial independence, integrity and personal progress through intelligent technology.
Adrian: We are still a small team, so the challenges are more easily mitigated due to an open and transparent culture. We were definitely challenged by Covid, the lockdown, our funding round falling through on a black Friday 13th of March.
This left Lumio on the brink of extinction. We were floored but decided our number 1 priority was to look after each other. I think it’s this human, people-first approach that then allowed us to rebuild Lumio.
Cutting costs, clawing in any funding we could get, redefining Lumio, our purpose, mission, vision and value proposition. We stuttered and got frustrated at times. But ultimately caring for each other has led to stronger foundations than we ever would have had without the pains and fears from the Covid challenge. I think the main tip would be to always try to treat people as humans first, empathise with them and see how you can build strong alignment towards common goals. We’re now closing our seed funding round and concurrently progressing the process of hiring a new CTO, Product Growth Manager and Operations Intern.
With that, we are definitely anticipating both opportunities to learn and grow our culture, but also challenges to maintain the close-knit team we have become. If anyone has tips they’d like to share we’re all ears!
Adrian: For Lumio, at this stage, finding Product/Market Fit is our number 1 priority. It is undoubtedly the hardest part of our journey so far. To help us, we have used the well-trodden “Lean Product Process” framework. Each of the 6 steps really helps to breakdown a daunting process, to ensure we weren’t in the wrong market or fixing the wrong problem. A great part of the whole process is that it builds strong feedback and validation loops.
Most importantly, it helped us (and still does) to make sure we are actually building something that solves a problem and customers love it.
The next step is to understand what Product/Market Fit looks like for Lumio and how to accurately measure it. A very common measurement is the “40% rule”. Simply, we ask our users, “How disappointed would they be if they could no longer use Lumio?”
If 40% say that they would be “very disappointed” if they could no longer use Lumio, then we are hitting the magic number! From this point, we use it as a chance to dive deeper with our users to ask for qualitative questions and interviews.
Adrian: Our main challenge in the early days of Lumio, was the stability of the Open Banking APIs. Lumio runs on the plumbing of Open Banking, which allows users to connect their financial accounts in one place. Many of the connections had downtime or failed, resulting in many problems for users.
Our biggest lesson from this was communication with customers. Letting customers know when things are going well and when things aren’t working as we would like solves a load of problems head-on. It also works to build trust and empathy with our customer.
Adrian: I’d probably say read this Medium article from fellow founder and CEO of Tumelo, Georgia Stewart: “Start-up seed funding guide: joy > pain“.
I had the benefit of Georgia’s advice from experience having just raised before she wrote the article. To me it’s a fundraising must-read from someone who’s recently been in the trenches. I can’t put it any better, so will leave it there!
Thank You for your time!